Bakesale Betty - It's all true!
Because of great reports from this board, I decided to drive from SF to Oakland today to try Bakesale Betty. It all looked so good, I wanted to try one of everything. There were 3 kinds of scones (I got the raisin), got a pecan shortbread cookie, and the fried chicken sandwich. I was eying the strawberry shortcake but decided I'd try it another time. They had many cases of beautiful aromatic peaches that they were making up for pie. I decided to get 2 slices to go; they said they'd bring it to me as soon as the pies had cooled off a bit.
While I ate some of the sandwich, an employee came to me with the shortcake, saying it was on the house; I was amazed. (Glad I'd brought a cooler with blue ice so that I could bring most of it home.)
When I went to get the slices of pie, the owner handed me a whole pie in a box and said it was for me -- that that's how she promotes her business. I have never before seen such generosity. Everything was wonderful!!
you're preaching to the choir. I love BB, I've been back several times though I've yet to try the chicken sandwiches. I have a hard time getting there before they run out.
BB is like a crack cocaine dealer...free samples and she knows you're hooked, forever. Seriously, it is a very generous touch and I'm just glad I don't live close by.
BTW, I had the fried chicken sandwich finally. I can only make it late in the day so they're usually out. Even after sitting awhile, yeah...they're all that...and I'm not a fan of chicken breasts. It must have weighed a pound.
I'd be stunned if Gregoire's sandwich is as large. Bakesale Betty uses 1.5 half chicken breasts on each sandwich. We're talking 6-8 ounces of meat per sandwich...before even considering the breading. While I've never had the fried chicken sandwich at Gregoire, I've eaten plenty of Gregoire sandwiches. Based on this experience, I'd say that they average 1/2-2/3 the size of the Bakesale Betty behemoths. Put another way, after a sandwich at Gregoire, I often still have room for a few potato puffs or some soup. After a sandwich at Bakesale Betty, I have to put the strawberry shortcake in the fridge until dinner time. Folks I know with more moderate/reasonable appetites are generally satisfied with a half sandwich and a cookie.
This is not a knock on Gregoire. I enjoy their sandwiches, and I think that they are generally a more sensible/healthful/approachable size than the Bakesale Betty chicken sandwich...which should not be construed as a knock on the Bakesale Betty sandwich either. The Brobdingnagian proportions of the Bakesale Betty sandwich are totally in keeping with effusive generosity that is the culture of the shop.
I tried both sandwiches. Overall, they're pretty similar. Gregoire uses a spicy aioli which I like. The coleslaw is neck and neck, both make damn fine slaw. Betty's is definitely larger, but Gregoire fries to order. Of course, Gregoire's sandwich probably wont show up again for at least six months, so the debate is rather moot.
The proprietors are two of the nicest people I've ever met, almost weirdly so (my ex-NYer sensibilities are having a hard time adjusting....). Some of their sweets could perhaps stand to be a bit less sweet, but the pecan shortbreads are awesome, the strawberry shortcakes are wonderful, and the ever-popular sandwiches are popular for good reason (though the crust on the fried chicken gets a bit soggy if the sandwiches sit - eat em quickly!). FYI, if you'd rather, it's possible to ask for the fried chicken as "chicken salad", and they'll give you a plastic clamshell full of the cole slaw with the fried chicken perched on top. The chicken potpie, though - woooo..... Nothing fancy or complicated, just tasty as hell, with big chunks of chicken and vegetables in a very chicken-y gravy, and topped with flaky pastry. A tribute to comfort food.
I found the chicken sandwich holds up very well the next day. The roll is sturdy and the flavors meld.
A few previous Bakesale Betty's posts:
5098 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
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Betty is the best! I'm only worried that success will go to her sweet blue-haired head, but somehow I doubt that it will happen. Not only is her food fabulous, but the vibe is unmatched for sincerity and kindness. If you come to the Farmer's Market at Temescal (DMV parking lot on Claremont Ave.) Sunday mornings, you will receive entire cookies or scones as samples from the Betty acolytes...and you will be so overcome with gratitude that you will buy far more than you can eat. If only the entire world operated by the Bakesale Betty Principles of Life, what a beautiful placce it would be. We love you, Betty, and we are eternally grateful that you selected our neighborhood to grace with your presence.
Well said... the world needs more Blue-haired Bettys! Unfortunately or fortunately, I do not live nearby but it is an easy hop off on the way to work...I love stopping by in the morning...I always start that day with a smile on my face. One treat working nearby is that they DELIVER those yummy chicken sandwiches with a cookie of course.